Mayor Walsh, Community Celebrate Opening of UMass Boston’s Section of HarborWalk
Calling it a neighborhood jewel that will further connect the university to the community, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joined Chancellor J. Keith Motley, local officials, and community members in celebrating UMass Boston’s newly constructed section of the HarborWalk on Monday.
“This truly adds to the beauty of our city, and adds to the beauty of the neighborhood,” Walsh told the crowd of more than 100 people gathered at the waterfront path.
The 800-foot stretch of shoreline on the north side of the UMass Boston campus, between the JFK Library and Museum and Harbor Point Apartments, features a paved walkway, benches, lighting, gathering spaces, and an area to display artwork. Bike racks and signs with historical narratives will also be installed.
Motley spoke of how the HarborWalk Improvements and Shoreline Stabilization Project has made the new section welcoming for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and everyone who wants to enjoy the waterfront.
“Today, it’s almost impossible to remember the way this path looked before—a rocky trail obscured by just enough vegetation to scare people away from using it,” Motley said. “Now our HarborWalk is accessible, well-lit, and welcoming.”
The construction project, which began last summer, placed 3,200 tons (6.4 million pounds) of stone along the shoreline to stabilize it, before adding the walkway and other amenities. A significant amount of granite blocks unearthed from the Big Dig were donated by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
The HarborWalk links UMass Boston to the JFK Library and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate, to Carson Beach and Castle Island, and all the way to the Seaport District.
Motley thanked children from Dot Art for creating the first sculpture to be featured on the HarborWalk. The children visited the beach several times this summer to gather shells, seagrass, and stones for their sculpture, which is built on a recycled wooden cake that celebrated the 375th birthday of Mather Elementary—the first public elementary school in the nation.
Motley also thanked Vivien Li, head of the Boston Harbor Association, for her leadership in fostering the creation of the HarborWalk. Li is leaving Boston for Pittsburgh after decades of hard work bringing us closer to our water’s edge.
Walsh spoke of how many cities create their own HarborWalks for visitors and tourists to see the ocean.
“This is ours. People will come by here, but this truly is Dorchester’s own, and Southie’s own,” Walsh said.